Evaluating lean six sigma implementations in financial services using soft system methodology

ISLAMAJ, Blerim (2021). Evaluating lean six sigma implementations in financial services using soft system methodology. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00430


This thesis explores Lean Six Sigma (LSS) implementations in financial services by using Soft System Methodology (SSM). Financial Services are among the top five contributors in world economies. They currently operate in a challenging market and are under tense pressure to innovate and stay competitive. By nature, financial services, are bound by time in terms of processes that lead to an outcome that benefits customers. To maintain the competitive advantage, they must minimize the operational inefficiencies by adopting the different qualitative initiatives. One of the most prominent initiatives applied in financial services last two decades is Lean Six Sigma. The research revealed the LSS is much appreciated in financial services. During empirical analysis, the researcher managed to bring forward the main stakeholders involved, reasons why LSS was triggered to start, and identified some of the issues associated with these projects. Among many tools, Kaizen events were considered the most efficient approach of LSS, whereas the improvement stage of the methodology was occasionally perceived as a daunting task. The participants involved in the primary research were from Banks, Fintech, and Shared Service Centers. They were representatives of financial services located primarily in Europe and Asia as well. The research provided a holistic view of LSS projects in financial services following the Soft System Methodology approach. Findings went beyond from general barriers mentioned in the literature. While the commitment from Top Management or other important stakeholders is the main reason for the success of LSS, the empirical research underpinned the exact areas where the commitment has mainly to come from. The study informs the practitioners that before starting the LSS project, they have to ensure full ownership in all D-M-A-I-C stages. This would come from commitment or a more flexible and agile mindset between the LSS project team and IT to implement the changes. Research findings move the LSS beyond the cliché of manufacturing reference. The research showed that the use of SSM as an interpretative approach for evaluating participants' perceptions in LSS projects was highly valuable. It also provided additional insights that practitioners can leverage SSM as a problem identification method in the future. Synergies between the soft system thinking principles of SSM in having a practical SSM standalone methodology or blended Soft Six Sigma, Soft Agile, and LSS Agile provided additional lenses for future academic and practitioner's researches.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Pandya, Kaushik
Thesis advisor - Moullin, Max
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Kaushik Pandya / Supervisor: Max Moullin
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00430
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 16:24
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 14:30
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30028

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